Call for Submissions 2023

Aitken Alexander specializes in managing writers’ careers across all forms and in all markets around the world. We represent a stellar list of bestselling and prize-winning clients, but we also love to discover new talent, taking special care to position writers not only for their debuts but for the long term. 

Led by each author’s Literary Agent, the senior management of the agency work closely together to help formulate individual strategies for every book and author, including for Translation and Film and TV – unusually for a boutique agency, we have our own TV and Film department, resulting in over 100 books currently at some stage of development for screen. We also handle stage adaptations. And we are ably supported by an excellent Finance Department who can ensure proper and timely payments of all money due.

While we receive unsolicited scripts throughout the year, we have decided to start 2023 with a special call for new talent. We want to begin the year with some exciting discoveries and would like to hear from new and emerging writers with no restrictions as to type of book or author.  What interests us is your talent.

Below you will find a brief description of each of our agents. If we sound like the right agency for you, do take the time to get in touch with a sample of your work. All work should be sent to our general submissions email,, but please read our full submissions guidelines before sending.

We are eager to hear from you.

Clare Alexander

2023 will be a year of stellar publications of authors I represent.  There are brilliant new novels from Ayobami Adebayo, Jo Baker, Diana Evans, Sebastian Faulks, Sarah May, Paula Lichtarowicz and Francis Spufford as well as debuts from Sophie Berrebi and Sarah Hardy, plus the paperback of this year’s bestseller, The Whalebone Theatre by Joanna Quinn.  Non-fiction riches include new books from Tom Bullough, Rory Stewart and Polly Toynbee as well as Nicholas Shakespeare’s official biography of Ian Fleming, plus debuts from Blessin Adams, Nuzha Nuseibeh and Kate Strasdin. 

It seems greedy to want more, but my door will always be open to thrilling new talent, especially in narrative non-fiction or literary fiction that has propulsive plot, convincing characterisation and that takes me somewhere I have never been before.

Read Clare’s full bio.

Chris Wellbelove

Discovery is one of the most thrilling parts of an agent’s job, and as we reach the end of 2022 I’ve been reflecting on the exciting new authors we’ve sold over the last 12 months, and thinking about what I’d like to find in 2023. I represent fiction across the literary spectrum: I prioritise good writing on the line, but for a novel to really keep me company it must have more than good sentences. I look for novels of scale that immerse the reader, whether that be through a perspective I’ve not encountered, a gripping central mystery or a high-stakes relationship dynamic, or in a particular place, community or moment in history. It would also be exciting next year to work on some quality crime writing: I love writers like Chandler, Simenon, Highsmith, Connelly and Grisham, and there’s space at the agency for a curated crime list that sits in conversation with our many prize-winning and bestselling literary writers. Finally, I’m always interested to hear from new nonfiction writers and to work on projects from their inception – for more on that please see my full bio.

Read Chris’ full bio.

Emma Paterson

In 2023, I am especially keen to discover new fiction. My taste is literary, and I look for novels that prioritise language, but equally important to me are artful storytelling, deep characterization, and emotional weight. I am drawn to propulsive stories that follow the repercussions of an event or a decision or a mistake (eg. The Human Stain by Philip Roth or In the Cut by Susanna Moore) and to ambitious, rigorous novels that immerse the reader in a particular period of history (eg. Trespasses by Louise Kennedy or Underworld by Don DeLillo). I’ve long wanted to discover a love story with the passion and elegance of Patricia Highsmith’s The Price of Salt/Carol. It would also be thrilling to find more novelists writing in the third person, and to see work committed as much to narrative pleasure as to ideas.

Read Emma’s full bio.

Lesley Thorne

I specialise in screenwriting as well as book-to-screen adaptations for the agency, helping any of our clients who want to write for screen (including Megan Hunter, Oyinkan Braithwaite, Sebastian Faulks et al). My background is in publishing and I started as a literary agent. However, in recent years I have focused more on book-to-screen adaptation and enjoy working with writers across both mediums. My own clients for publishing and screen include Willy Vlautin, Clara Salaman, Dom Joly, Craig Silvey and for screen alone: Rebecca Frayn, Kevin Barry and Will Ashon.

I represent screenwriters and novelists who demonstrate originality, a keen eye for characterisation and complexity of tone and emotion. I’d love to hear from any screenwriters or authors at the quality end of the market. I have represented literary fiction, crime, thrillers, memoirs, pop culture and comedy and BAFTA nominated adaptations. I am interested in writers with a unique voice and books and screenplays with a compelling narrative drive.

Read Lesley’s full bio.

Lisa Baker

While I’ve been primarily focused on nonfiction in 2022, I’m very much looking forward to seeing some of the fiction I represent coming out in 2023 – especially Shy, the new novel from Max Porter out in April, and a powerful debut, Kit by Megan Barker, publishing in July. Many of my favourite books this year have been translations, including The Wall by Marlen Haushofer, Employees by Olga Ravn, When I Sing, Mountains Dance by Irene Solà and Portrait of an Unknown Lady by Maria Gainza. These, as well as the stunning Kick the Latch by Kathryn Scanlan have been short and tightly plotted, while conjuring expansive landscapes from spare and concise prose. Sometimes experimental, sometimes classically elegant, they all allow the reader to luxuriate in the reading, and this is something I look for always in both fiction and nonfiction.

Read Lisa’s full bio.

Amy St Johnston

I’m an associate agent at Aitken Alexander actively building a list across all genres. My clients include Onyi Nwabineli, whose debut novel Someday, Maybe was Good Morning America Book of the Month in 2022, Charlotte Bigland, whose second novel The Murder Thief is out in the summer, and Phoebe McIntosh whose debut novel Dominoes comes out in 2024.

In fiction I’m looking for propulsive novels filled with characters I’m so invested in they make me laugh/cry/worry about their life decisions, even when I’m not reading. I’m obsessed by dysfunctional families (especially dreadful mothers) and I love multi POV narratives (particularly if they tie seemingly unconnected storylines together). I’m also drawn to spiky and sardonic voices that offer a slightly offbeat view of the world. In nonfiction I am looking for thrilling narratives that make you think ‘if this was fiction you’d never believe it.’

Read Amy’s full bio.

Monica MacSwan

I am an associate agent building my list at Aitken Alexander. I represent the debut novelist Nicola Dinan, journalist Moya Lothian-McLean and the poet Belinda Zhawi. In the new year, I’m excited to read submissions of story-driven literary novels with a distinctive, surprising premise and a sense of adventure. My favourite novel this year was Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin; I was heartened to read a story with expansive themes like collaboration, play, appropriation and renewal, rather than focusing solely on romantic relationships or identity. I’m also keen to work with novelists on sharpening their narrator’s voice on a sentence level: I was very happily entertained by Selin in Elif Batuman’s Either/Or and admired Julia May Jonas’ precision in Vladimir. I’d love to hear from journalists or academics who approach a subject we take for granted in life, re-evaluating it in a new and urgent way. George Monbiot’s Regenesis on farming and soil ecology is a good example of this – I was gripped!

Read Monica’s full bio.